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By Peter Della Penna (on Twitter)
Former Sri Lanka and Malaysia national team coach Mumtaz Yusuf will
coach the USA U-18 team next week in Florida at the ICC Americas U-18
Match Play Camp against Canada and Bermuda. Yusuf has been living in the
USA since 1999 and is a Level Three qualified coach who currently works
with players in Southern California. USACA General Manager Manaf
Mohamed confirmed the news and also said that Wesley King will serve as
the Team Manager.
says that he wants to put a greater emphasis on fielding and fitness
with this group to help get them ready for next year’s ICC Americas U-19
Division One tournament when USA will look to qualify for the 2014 ICC
U-19 World Cup in the UAE. Yusuf believes USA should have finished in
the top six in Ireland at last year’s ICC U-19 World Cup Qualifier and
doesn’t want to let this current group of players fail to qualify for
the next global event in two years’ time.
“In my coaching where I have succeeded in Sri Lanka and Malaysia, the
side has to be fit and has to be a very good fielding side,” Yusuf
said. “I would always give the edge to a fielder slightly over his
batting and bowling. Especially in Florida with humid conditions, if you
are not fit and you are not a good fielder, that’s going to be a minus
point for us.”
coached Sri Lanka and was a national selector from 1989-1992. He then
coached Malaysia beginning at the 1994 ICC Trophy in Kenya continuing
through the 1997 ICC Trophy in Malaysia and finally concluded his
five-year stint with them in 1999 before moving to America.
Image (left) - Mumtaz Yusuf [Credit: USYCA]
has been actively involved in coaching players in Southern California
for the last decade and most recently coached the South West Region U-15
squad in Connecticut last year at the USACA U-15 National Tournament.
Yusuf said that one player from that event who caught his eye and who he
is looking forward to coach is Randall Wilson from the New York Region.
Yusuf is also eager to work with USA U-18 captain Steven Taylor, who
has already represented the senior side at multiple tournaments.
“I witnessed the U-15 final against Northern California last year and
I was very impressed with Randall Wilson,” Yusuf said. “Not only
Randall Wilson, I think we have a very talented bunch of players. I have
been very impressed with Steven Taylor. I think working with that young
kid will be a great pleasure to me because it will be the first time I
will be working with Steven Taylor though I know his capabilities and
his caliber and mental approach.”
Building up towards preparing a team for next year’s ICC Americas
U-19 Division One qualifier, Yusuf is recommending that USACA should
also select a shadow squad of players to keep the competition level
amongst the current squad high so that players stay hungry and work hard
to stay in the team.
“Once this tournament is over, I would recommend that apart from
these 14 core players, we need to pick another team of 14 players who
have missed out on selection,” Yusuf said. “We cannot allow players to
be complacent and let them think they have been picked for this so [next
time they have] 100% chance of being selected because when that happens
you don’t want to try hard. You need to have someone breathing down
your neck. Only then you’ll want to keep yourself sharp. After this
tournament is over, pick another 14 players and play some games to keep
players on their toes.”
USA’s squad arrives in Florida on Friday and will have three days of
training before their first match on Tuesday at the Central Broward
Regional Park. USA will play a total of four round-robin 50-over matches
against Canada U-18 and Bermuda U-18 next week.